The Mid-Year Cutoff Is Back As WSL Announces 2022 Tour Schedule
Snapper axed, Surf Ranch axed.
The World Surf League (WSL) just made an announcement outlining changes to the 2022 WSL Tour Schedule and Strategy. The most significant changes regard the reinstatement of the mid-season cutoff where 36-men and 18-women fields are reduced to 24-men and 12-women fields at the end of the first five events in May.
The reasoning behind the midway cutoff is to ensure events can run within the most optimal swell cycles at locations like G-Land and J-Bay and to enable the stars of the sport meet head to head more frequently. According to a WSL source, they will still need a minimum of three days to run the events even with fewer competitors.
Technically speaking, the cut will take only the top-22 and top-10 surfers from the men and women’s tours respectively (the 24 and 12-person event fields will include 2 wildcards a side). This will serve also as the re-qualification line for the next season’s tour, so if you make the mid-year cut, you’re guaranteed to surf at least half of 2023’s CT.
One benefit of this system is that it allows CT surfers who weren’t going to requalify on the main tour have a legitimate crack at the Challenger Series, which will commence following the CT’s mid-year cut.
Further changes include the elimination of the Surf Ranch event, Lowers’ return to normal CT status, the addition of two new/old events at Sunset and G-Land, and the shift from CT to CS status (see below) for the Gold Coast and France events. The Rip Curl Finals, where the top 5 ranked surfers go head-to-head for the World Title, will run from September 7-18. The venue of the finals has yet to be announced, but we understand that they plan to change the location each year.
The CS (Challenger Series) will feature eight premium-ish venues in Sydney (AUS), Piha (NZL), Ballito (ZAF), Huntington Beach (USA), Pantin (ESP), Ericeira (PRT), Haleiwa (HAW) and Sunset Beach (HAW).
The Challenger Series (CS) will increase the number of 10,000-point events from six to eight for men and from two to four for women, offering equal prize money for men and women. This provides athletes more opportunities at the highest level to qualify for the Championship Tour. The Challenger Series events, which will exist as part of the overall Qualifying Series, will be a battleground for surfers to showcase their talents (and air revs) and qualify for the elite-level of competition.
2022 WSL Championship Tour Schedule:
- Pipeline, Hawai’i – January 29 – February 10
- Sunset, Hawai’i – February 11 – 23
- Peniche, Portugal – March 3 – 13
- Bells Beach, Australia – April 10 – 20
- Margaret River, Western Australia – April 24 – May 4
Mid-Season Cut – 36-man and 18-woman fields reduced to 24-man and 12-woman fields.
- G-Land, Indonesia – May 28 – June 6
- Trestles, USA – June 15 – 22
- Saquarema, Brazil – June 27 – July 4
- Jeffreys Bay, South Africa – July 9 – 18
- Teahupo’o, Tahiti – August 11 – 21
WSL Final 5 determined to battle for the undisputed men’s and women’s World Titles.
- Rip Curl WSL Finals, location TBA – September 7 – 18
The 2022 WSL Challenger Series Schedule:
- Gold Coast, Australia – May 7 – 15
- Manly, Australia – May 17 – 24
- Ballito, South Africa – July 20 – 27
- Huntington Beach, USA – July 30 – August 7
- Ericeira, Portugal – October 1 – 9
- Landes, France – October 15 – 23
- Piha, New Zealand – November 5 – 13
- Haleiwa, Hawai’i – November 26 – December 7
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